MT. Daraitan – Going with the Flowby Doreen
16-17 October 2010
We set off to Daraitan hoping to repeat our immensely satisfying adventure in Manalmon with the spelunking activity on the side. Instead, we were handed a box full of chocolates of the bittersweet variety.
Joining us for the very first time in Daraitan were Karen and Tin-Tin (not to be confused with resident KPMS member Tin aka Mang Kris). We ran a bit late with our ETD due to a latecomer who shall not be named (*wink*), hence giving us time to get to know our guests. Karen, we had already met (virtually) via one of our members, and Tin-Tin was the brave soul who reached out to KPMS expressing interest to join our Daraitan trip via the wonderful invention that’s Facebook. Vera, our unofficial photographer and adopted KPMS member, was also present for this homecoming climb of our resident Amboy, Sir J (There’s no place like home, eh?).
After “the latecomer” showed up, we took the jeep to Tanay, Rizal pumped up and ready for the adventure to begin. Some shared laughter, photo ops, and cat naps later we were hopping on to another jeepney bound for Daraitan, where we waited… and waited some more for it to be on its way. This was our second speed bump on the road – quite a bit of waiting and a very dusty and bumpy ride ahead. I imagine it was even more challenging for some KPMS members on the top load of the jeepney. Lesson learned: check ahead of time about scheduled departures of public transportation, otherwise you’ll kill more time than you can afford.
But on we went, and after a few grumbles, we regained our good-natured mind-sets and shrugged it off, commenting in jest, “Sira na naman ang IT (Our itinerary’s messed up again)” – a ribbing common in KPMS as we tend to improvise and stray from stringent ITs.
Two rides and a few hours later, we arrived in Daraitan where we took a boat ride (always fun) to the registration hut, then took a trike to the barangay hall where we finally got some sustenance.
Fully satisfied and rested, we prepped for the trek by distributing equipment, provisions (and some potent beverage) among us, and then went on our way.
We ran into the third speed bump halfway through the trail to the camp site. Mt. Daraitan, according to www.mountainsmount.com, reaches up to 719 MASL, but we barely scratched the surface. As explained by our “delightful” guide, the summit of Mt. Daraitan is not yet established. It would take 3 days, minimum, to reach the peak with danger of eroding soil on steep trails. See, Daraitan is one of those mountains suffering from the ill effects of logging. That being the source of income for some residents, patches of land are bare and the soil suffers from erosion.
A bit disheartened, and maybe a bit disappointed, the sight of the boulders white as snow and the crystal clear waters of Daraitan river make the trek to the camp site worth it. And since we only stayed at the base to camp by the riverside, we had plenty of time left after we set up camp, and so we spent it frolicking in the hot ‘n cold waters of the river. Quite a moody river that one. J
As the night enveloped us, we gathered round for dinner and socials where “the Chapel” struck again. A bit of drizzle drove us all into the shelter of “the Chapel” – cozy and relaxed. After the rain stopped, we all went back out and marveled at the moon while enjoying each other’s easy banters. We were not the only ones enjoying the lovely night it seemed, as a group approached came into the camp site and indulged in a bit of night swimming.
The next day, we set off to the Daraitan cave for spelunking – another speed bump. This was the more challenging trail. And while the marble formations were a sight to behold, we were treated to a strenuous half hour trek up to the cave entrance only to be foiled by a reptile (the snake!) coiled around a tree by the cave’s entrance. As a snake bite was not part of the plan, we opted to forego this part of the IT and chose, instead, to dive and drench ourselves in the gigantic tub created by nature – a picturesque and private patch of paradise. It was just too bad that some insensitive trekkers chose to immortalize trivial things with vandalism.
It’s good to have plans, but great memories are made of instances of ingenious improvisations in the face of unexpected turns. Like the water that flows through the rivers of Daraitan, we should learn how to go with the flow and allow life to surprise us once in a while.
Life’s little inconveniences teach us that we can’t have control over everything. And when things don’t go as planned, well, it’s really not worth stressing over. Adventure trips are stress relievers, getting strung out on details defeats that very purpose. With the beauty of nature spread out before you, who can resist the urge to just lie down and take it all in?
That, in a nutshell, is what this trip was all about.
See more Photos here.